Things-to-Remember When Graduating From Design School

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Starting a career and then building it is not something that happens overnight. Especially for freshly graduating students, the professional field is so unpredictable and full of un-seen obstacles. Practical field is not your college assignment where you can win the game with your talent only. Being in the field requires patience and ability to deal with people other than your raw talent.

A stable career demands passion for your work alongside dealing-with-people skill (which is often called team work in professional jargon). To soar to the heights of your profession, you have to have self-awareness, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and to improve yourself at every step of professional life.

Graphic designing is a very liberal and unique field. it is neither too free-wheeling not too corporate. The great thing about a career in design is that you can define success in your own different terms. A renowned creative director at a big firm can boast about his career success as equally as a small production studio owner or a mother who is working out of her home alongside raising her children well. However, the important thing is that you need to carve your own path and often ‘elbow your way to you kind of success.’ A career in graphic designing isn’t just about professional insight and fresh aesthetic perspectives; it is also largely developed from personal flexibility and potential.

Graduating design school will help you successfully create brochures for clients.

Tips for About-to-graduate Graphic Design Students

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As soon as the design students so find a job and start their career, the transition from school to work is pretty difficult, rather painful and frustrating in some cases. The first thing you learn is that there is almost everything to learn. Your adjustment in the field depends on learning quickly and applying shrewdly. As my own personal experience I have shortlisted a few tips that, if followed well, can help your student-to-professional transitions easier.

Differentiate Between Theory and Practice

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Whatever colleges, universities, books and teachers teach you, it is called theoretical learning. Whatever you learn from your own experience from the field is called practical learning. Learning is great and by all means you should excel in your way through academia. Appreciate the time you have been given to learn about your field and its mechanics.

You are taught to express yourself, develop the essence of your design perspective and want you to be able to communicate your work to the judges. Such practices make the design school a ‘creative heaven’. However, once you’re out in the ruthless world of experienced art directors and creative veterans, it turns into a whole new game. Things change 360 degrees. You are no longer pampered or looked after, you are rather demanded upon and expected to deliver the best in the professional environment.

There is no room for isolation, and people don’t clap for you if even if they find you terminally unique or exceptionally brilliant. You are expected to understand your clients and their objectives as a team, and how you, collectively, are going to meet the aims of the client and their business.

Design firms are not created to teach and help you learn. Although people tend to learn a lot alongside being practical, but still it is a hardcore business with an objective to be a successful company. As soon as you walk into a design firm and start absorbing the processes, culture and the various stylistic methods, you automatically become part of a group, and you will also realize that you thought you knew much a few months ago, but now you only know a fraction of what everyone else in the firm seems to know. However, my emphasis is not to scare you with ‘professional world monster’. This is just the way it is in the practical field. The sooner you realize this difference, the better it will be for you and your career growth.

Keep Networking Along the Way

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Networking in this particular field is as important as having food three times a day. This is a great way to prepare for your career even before you graduate.  Reach out and cultivate relationships with your seniors, teacher and class-mates along with some reachable contacts in the field. Attend the seminars and conferences your administration holds for the students. If a creative veteran visits your college, make a point to attend that meeting.

Trust me; he/she can give you the best advice and purest picture of the profession you are being prepared for. Try to exchange thoughts with the guest speaker and tell them about your ideas, if possible. You never know, they may pick you there and then for an internship opportunity in their firm…

Learn as an Intern

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Almost every design school requires its graduating students to so internship at a company related to their field as a part of the academic requirement. Many students take it as a burden and try to get it off their shoulders as clumsily as possible. Some might even get fake internship certificates and try to find a shortcut. Such students, in my views make the biggest mistake of their lives. Internship is a great opportunity to ‘actually’ experience the sights and sounds of the professional life.

An internship done seriously might take you half way through the learning process. Apart from learning, you can do rich networking from where you do the internship. Most importantly, if you do well in your internship and show seriousness, companies often offer you internship-leading-to-job!

Add to Your Skill Set

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As a beginner, I would advise you not to limit yourself to one skill only. The more multi-skilled you will be, the more will be your prospects of getting and then maintaining your job. Multi-tasking is good as a starter, so emphasize on adding to your skill set. Also, knowing only print designing is not enough. Everything is online now, and Internet is taking over every field. So if you don’t know basics of CSS and HTML, which might go against your prospects.

When companies receive a new client, they seek print advertising solutions as well as online marketing services. Similarly, having the basic knowledge of printing process and its mechanics can be very useful as well. Whatever additional skill you think might suit your talent and future carrier, wait no more and try to grasp it as soon as possible.

Make Yourself Interesting

Make-Yourself-Interesting

This piece of advice does not mean that I am suggesting you to dye your hair blue and get your tongue pierced before going in the professional field. Making yourself interesting means that you should adopt some interesting hobby or gain some general knowledge so that you don’t give out the vibes of a ‘one-track mind’. As a freshly graduated design student, make yourself like-able and different than the average. This will help you to increase the percentage of leads you receive that turn into actual conversions and will eventually help you nail your first job.

Be Confident in Yourself

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Being confident is the key to many of the problems you might face in the professional world. You know that you are fresh and you don’t know the work and the industry that well, as compared to your other colleagues at the new office, but that does not mean your heart sinks to your toes and you crack into tears.

Be confident about the fact that you don’t know much and you are still learning. Confidence displays strength, lack of confidence displays weakness. When you speak with your boss, show him that you are the best choice for a number of reasons. Be confident in the fact that you are a part of the graphic designing industry and you have the official education to back it up. That should give you the extra confidence to really present yourself and your skills well. Confidence builds trust and when people trust you in the professional field, you hug success sooner.

Complete Yourself with a Portfolio

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As I have mentioned many times earlier, a portfolio is like a soul-mate of a graphic designer. It is born as soon as the flare for designing takes birth in you and stays with you till the end of the days. As soon as you draw your first design, you should start making a portfolio. A portfolio of a design student may include his assignments and projects (to start with). Anything to get your portfolio more stacked is great, and allows you to really display your ability.

Invest some hard work and time into increasing the number of pieces in your portfolio. Create fake companies, design things for real companies etc. After all, you must give some idea of your working ability and aesthetics to your prospective employer, and a portfolio is just the thing to show it off.

If you are serious in going to a professional job after graduating, consider the mentioned tips to boost your chances of getting picked among the rest (especially the ones who have not read this post!).

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About the Author

Arfa Mirza is a EuroPakistani and a graduate of Media Studies. Writing is both, her passion and profession. She is big fan of world cultures and is the proud co-founder of dzineblog360 and webblog360, alongwith her husband.

Comments and Discussions

  1. sergio santana, 20 September 2010

    Great Post, I am a design student and found some of these tips useful!

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  4. Gina, 23 September 2010

    hello. This is a great post. And very interusting infact.

  5. Paromita, 26 September 2010

    Amazing post.Good one.

  6. Free Template, 21 October 2010

    wow thank you.. amazing post.

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